Native advertising is one of the hottest new trends in online marketing. It is a way of grabbing the attention of a target audience without being intrusive to the content they are currently reading. It can also be applied across a wide range of mediums to get the best results.
Learn more about native advertising and how it can support your business here.
What Is Native Advertising?
Many businesses do not understand the concept of native advertising. According to some research, only 51% of marketers and businesses understand exactly what native advertising is, while only 3% are knowledgeable about this marketing aspect.
Yet once you know what native marketing is, it is rather simple to employ.
A good description is often said to be ‘selective content delivered in-stream’. In other words, it is a form of advertising which appears to belong on its host’s site. The advertisement blends in seamlessly into the main content of the platform so it is noticed by the audience on a subconscious level.
Native adverts are therefore less obtrusive and receive less resistance than some of the more traditional marketing methods such as PPC and display adverts. The advantages of this are clear.
While the click through rate of display advertisements has dropped from 9% in 2000, to 0.2% in 2012, the revenue from native advertising has increased. Those businesses using native advertising have benefited from 9% uplift in their brand affinity.
This has led to native advertising seeing a large increase in uptake over the past few years. The average spend has increased more than general marketing budgets. By 2017, it is estimated that spending on native advertising will exceed $5 billion worldwide.
What Content Can Be Used In Native Advertising?
Native advertising is being used in force today and in a variety of different forms. For instance, one of the most basic native advertising models is the “sponsored by” element. Others include text, social media updates, videos, photo streams and interactive graphics.
Some of the simplest forms of native advertising can be seen on Twitter with their ‘sponsored tweet’ or Facebook with their ‘sponsored story’. Both of these are classic examples of native advertising because the advert is the same as any other update seen on a user’s feed.
Another option is that a business places an advert on a site like YouTube. This video is shown before the content requested by the user. If the advert is aligned with the main content (or with the user’s previous search history), then it can be considered native advertising.
Why Should Your Small Business Use Native Advertising?
Native advertising isn’t just restricted to large brands. There are many benefits for small businesses of using native advertising. To start with, it allows your small business to provide users with high value content in a visually pleasing format. You’ll also be able to benefit from attaching your marketing message to content which is more likely to be found, read and shared. All this allows for increased consumer engagement and sharing, allowing you to extend the reach of your marketing and generate new interest in your business.
Native advertising is also considered to be very mobile friendly. With some estimates placing web browsing via mobile devices to be between 40-45%, this is an important area to develop.
Due to the low costs of this marketing approach, your business has the flexibility to test different approaches and quickly optimise the marketing message. Once you have optimised your native advertising strategy you can increase your native advertising budget to take advantage of a tested model.
The cost effectiveness of native advertising is evident in the way that customers have used native advertisement to display their annoyance with certain companies. One such example would be when a British Airways customer used a sponsored tweet to highlight he was unhappy at his father’s luggage being lost by the airline.
The tweet was viewed and shared thousands of times within just four hours and was picked up by major online news outlets. It was hours before British Airways responded, yet the lost luggage was quickly found and then re-united with the passenger, though the damage to the brand had already been done.
A good business example would be when American Apparel commissioned an image slideshow interviewing young women about toilet issues. Every one of the young women in the piece was wearing items from their clothing lines. The marketing was done on such a subconscious level that it almost went completely unnoticed – the slideshow wasn’t even hosted on its website.
Yet the brand achieved extra web traffic and sales from this campaign.
What Tips Should Be Considered When Using Native Advertising?
As with any form of advertising there are a number of general guidelines which you should consider when you instigate native advertising:
Tip One: Start small
Set aside a small amount of your overall marketing budget to begin with. Concentrate on first finding the right mix for your brand and how users want to interact with your content; once you are getting good returns you can increase the budget to see better results.
Tip Two: Use Social Media
The best methods of native advertising are using the big social media platforms. Use sponsored tweets and stories on Twitter and Facebook respectively. There are also other options which allow small businesses to target specific audiences.
Tip Three: Get the Content Right
Your native advertising is only going to work if the advertising is right for both you and the audience. Ensure that you are providing content the audience wants and which allows you to reach your specific goals.
Tip Four: Set Goals
Always ensure that you have the right goals set up for your campaign. If you want sales but are sending people to your newsletter then you might need to adjust your campaign.
Tip Five: Monitor Your Results
You need to constantly be monitoring your results to ensure you identify opportunities to improve your content and reach more of an audience. It also helps to ensure that you are making a good return on your investment in native advertising.
Native advertising is a new area to exploit. If your small business wants to reach a large audience and have knowledge authority, then native advertising is for you. However, being successful at native advertising takes time, expertise and an understanding of your audience.
- Use a sponsored tweet and story to promote your business.
- Look into other native advertising options.
- Monitor the results and improve upon your initial experiments.